Ages run the gamut from Geodesic (age 14) to Bruiser (age 24)
- Alex Hanson (actually Ak'hanezakhar), the exiled alien princess.
- Bruiser is actually Matthew Brady.
- Geodesic is Dana Mehr, dressed as Kid Dr. Doom.
- Tech-Head we're just calling Tech-Head, but his real name is Clark Wayne.
Watching the VR experiences are Dr. Maya Nayar, Priya's mother, and Technologists Hadir el Haj and Garry Mantish.
Nameless occupants of a nearby building. I think they work for Google.
Villain group: The Manifest
Between classes, we deal with a couple of things.
Geodesic hides the coin on a near-earth asteroid. His research in the time between classes shows him that no coins have been provably destroyed, but they are disappearing.
Hunter starts haunting Tech-Head's house. She's not hiding, but she has apparently been told that she's allowed to stand on the sidewalk but not on private property. (Clark waves to her sometimes.) Clark—Tech-head—spends a lot of time in his secret lab, deciphering the secrets of the power source.
Alex is probably amused by Priya's increasingly desperate attempts to keep the two from meeting.
Bruiser is getting a lot of flak from coworkers because they are short-handed, now that one of their members has been arrested.
And now we get to the midterm.
The midterm is to be a case study: the students are divided into teams of 4 and put into virtual reality. They get to re-enact a famous superhero battle as the heroes involved, with their own agency to change things moving from none at the beginning to full by halfway through. Afterward the students must answer questions.
Because (a) there are 16 students and not enough VR crèches and (b) something always goes wrong when superheroes go into VR, three teams of four go into the crèches at the Deja View institute downtown (at the intersection of King St. and Charles St., for locals) and the remaining four are a guard. Dr. Why isn't even there; he's at the place where they'll write the test.
Not surprisingly, Our Heroes are put on a team together. They win the draw between teams (well, rock-paper-scissors, actually) and elect to be guard rather than go into the VR crèches in the first round.
If (when) something goes wrong, note that it takes five minutes to safely bring someone out of the VR crèche.
The neurologist who is supervising at Deja View is Priya's mother. The lab is a large room on the ground floor with two exits (one fire, one hall). The crèches are arranged in a clock dial pattern around a central control dais. The room is about a storey and a half all with big tiles in a drop ceiling. (This becomes important later.) (Clearly this is a two-storey room that has been converted.) Dr. Nayar is there with two assistants. It was not clear whether she knows who Alex is.
Everything starts fine, as it usually does. Ten minutes in the exterior wall explodes inward. Standing there are four villains in non-thematic costumes, three in powered armor-ish suits and one not. The suits look like they're variants on those of known villains, like someone was paying them homage or updating them. They are:
- Fragile, wearing an outfit reminiscent of Kneebreaker, a minor-league villain whose schtick was weakening objects like vault doors until he could hit them with a sledge hammer and break them. Keebreaker was a one-and-done villain of a local hero.
- Bubblewrap is wearing a glowing blue-green forcefield reminiscent of the Lime Lantern. The force field is opaque below the neck. Bubblewrap is female.
- Cargo is wearing a very steampunk armor. It doesn't look like it's actually steam powered, but there are whirring gears on the outside (behind Lexan covers). Cargo's goggles are pushed up on his/her/its brow, probably because the eyeholes don't provide a lot of view and the goggles would just reduce it further. The probable power source is mounted on the back and the whole thing seems heavy enough that there are whining servos and gyros every time Cargo moves.
- Transit is in a full-body purple bodysuit (snug but not skin-tight.) There are D-rings all over it, as if he expects to have things strapped to him. He has heavy boots on, and is male. (We cannot tell the gender of the other two.)
Bubblewrap says, "We're just here for his suit. Nobody else needs to be alarmed." She points directly at Tech-Head.
Geodesic's answer is to cover the three innocent bystanders at the central control panel, along with a created tunnel that leads to the interior door.
Tech-Head's answer is to book it for the fire exit and take off. (Tech-Head has flight 6.)
Bubblewrap and Fragile follow. Bubblewrap has flight 7, and Keebreaker has flight 5. (After two rounds, Fragile cannot keep up and turns back to help the others.)
The fight is surprisingly ineffective, because Geodesic is busy maintaining his sorcerous construct, the bystanders are not interested in leaving yet because it takes five minutes to bring people out from the VR, and Transit is just watching, almost as if it was his job to bring people here but not necessarily to fight. Cargo and Bruiser miss each other for a while, but eventually Cargo connects and it becomes obvious that Cargo is stronger and tougher than Bruiser.
The innocent bystander assistants do rock-paper-scissors and the winner leaves (after getting assurances from Dr. Nayar that this won't affect his annual bonus).
Eventually Fragile returns and nothing in the fight gets better. A wild miss from Alex damages a nearby building through the hole in the wall. Geodesic notes the design flaws in Cargo's suit and comments loudly about them. Finally Transit teleports into the construct and threatens to kill the two innocent bystanders if people don't quit.
Geodesic drops the force wall and makes Cargo's helmet unusable, twisting it to one side.
Alex, now berserk, shoots.
And misses, in one of the four ones that Brian (the player) rolled in a row. Ceiling damage, and Dr. Nayar is hurt with the falling debris.
Geodesic does first aid, and Alex shoots again, missing but doing more damage to the nearby building and making it structurally unsound. (Unfortunately, Brian keeps rolling ones.)
Bubblewrap pleads with Tech-Head during the catch-and-escape cycle, saying that Mastermind is really expecting that suit tomorrow. Tech-Head radios the police that an employee of Mastermind is responsible for the property damage. Bubblewrap responds with a loudspeaker announcement that Tech-Head’s suit is stolen.
Having returned, Fragile puts the whammy on Bruiser and Cargo’s next shot dazes him.
Alex blames the villains for hurting her girlfriend’s mother and more collateral damage happens.
Tech-Head dives into a nearby lake and swims upstream, out of sight. Bubblewrap has to guess which of two feeder rivers that Tech-Head goes up but guesses right.
Tech-Head does not surface for fear that Bubblewrap is watching, as she is.
Transit tries to get Geodesic but fails, then teleports Dr. Nayar away.
Fragile falls—I think to Geodesic but I might be incorrect. Transit disappears; Cargo picks up the fallen Fragile to leave at a mind-numbing 100 kilometres per hour but Alex isn’t done yet. She flies to Cargo and damages Cargo’s collateral, then starts riding Fragile and Cargo to the ground.
Transit blips in and moves them to Bubblewrap: Transit, Cargo, Fragile...and Alex. The two unconscious ones fall into the river, Alex can fly, and Transit blips to the nearby sewage treatment plant.
Geodesic and Bruiser spend some time rescuing foolish people who thought being in a nearby building would protect them.
Alex is still angry and still cannot aim, so the water treatment plant takes a tremendous shot. Then Bubblewrap takes a shot, and we discover that Alex can aim (when Brian is not rolling a one).
Geodesic arrives. Bubblewrap deals with Geodesic while Alex is trying to deal with Transit, but she cannot find him.
The sewage treatment plant takes a lot of damage.
Bruiser arrives and they manage to calm Alex down, but Bubblewrap is out of the fight.
Tech-Head notices the three falling figures in the water and drags Cargo to shore.
Geodesic gets Bubblewrap and discovers that the green force-field is generated by a pendant, which his magic detector helpfully tells him is magic because of a coin-shaped object inside.
He spends a lot of time getting the pendant, but he succeeds.
In the meantime, Bruiser gets Fragile.
While their attention is elsewhere, Transit spirits Cargo away.
The four are excused from the mid-term if they want, but Tech-Head insists on taking it anyway because he likes to show how smart he is.